More than a decade of stable thinking, fad-proof investment advice and a belief in uncertainty has made Hong Kong’s M.F. CHAN a “voice in the wilderness”, yet a popular “go-to” source for finance and investment-related matters. For 2018 he predicts why and how the art of investment will depend so much on…introspection, involvement & intuition.
Readers of Hong Kong’s Most Valuable Companies look forward to select regular features on money matters and one of them is this – an annual commentary from one of Hong Kong’s most respected and independent financial advisors – M. F. Chan, Managing Director of Noble Apex Advisors Ltd.
Known for his outspoken views on market sentiment, investment trends, investor behavior and savings patterns, Chan remains a pragmatic student of reality and that’s what puts him in a class of his own.
Ever open to opportunities, he has lived through and seen the spoils of speculation, the disasters of financial tsunamis, the rewards of disciplined investment habits and the merits of client-specific managed funds. His views today are of unprecedented importance as the world seems poised for a paradigm shift. The appearance of crypto currencies and their speculation-fueled march toward heaven have taken the investing world by surprise. Precious metals, commodities, retail, real estate and inflation are pulling investors in all directions asking the proverbial “man-on-the-street” stands quizzed. Is this a growing bubble or has the revolution finally arrived? There is no straight answer, most say. Not M. F. Chan.
“View investment as a part of life and not life as a part of investment. Stay vigilant and invest wisely.” – M.F. Chan
Let’s Be Sensible, Please
“What is the goal of investment? Is it to grow richer? And how richer is richer?” he asks in his characteristic way.
“Trends must be seen for what they are and treated as such. If the goal is to make reasonable and steady returns, I am all for it. But don’t ask me to applaud ‘bandwagon syndrome’ because I’ve seen many bandwagons race off the cliff taking their riders with them.”
Let’s view the current market scenario, as usual.
“There is no immediate threat to the Hong Kong economy so there are many stable opportunities for investors here and the market still offers modest returns.
More than 70% of the stock market comes from China companies so you can say, the future is ‘red’. On the regulator’s side, SFC is now more ready to talk about market reforms; for example, on accommodating market changes like Fintech sector. SFC is trying to have a tighter control on small companies like those listed on GEM. These are the dynamics between the regulator and market practitioners.”
Noble Apex’ popular iFund is an online wealth management product platform used by individual and institutional investors.
“We started with Hong Kong authorized funds but over time we’ll put other investment products on the platform. We started with a sort of DIY module where investors can get online, research their investment choices and products and place their order by themselves. In Stage 2 we plan to roll out a robo-advisor service so investors gain the combined knowledge and experience of our company, which helps them make an informed choice. Interactive dialogue will lead the investor to the final decision based on one’s risk profile and appetite. This is the future of investments,” Chan says.
“This is good because when you comply with SFC requirements, you have to monitor and control the outflow of information and advice. Further, this interactive robot facility will help in dealing with overseas clients too.”
“Investment is also about involvement where you understand and appreciate your commitment, instead of putting your hard earned dollars on a balloon rising by hot air. Investment is about intuition born from experience and knowledge, not from hope and luck.” – M.F. Chan
“Property investment in Canada is a growing trend for Hong Kong Canadian “returners” and Hong Kong Chinese looking to buy for their children. Ever since we started our one-stop-shop the market has shown increasing interest. We help source property, referral mortgages and manage the rental as well. All our investors do is sit back and enjoy the stable returns. You can get a 2-3 bedroom apartment in Toronto (for around 700 thousand Canadian Dollars up) for 20-30% lower than in Sydney. In Vancouver, apartments would be cheaper than Sydney by about 30% and the market potential is higher due to the shortage of new supply. We have regular ‘walk-in’ investors who are often pleasantly amazed to discover the value of the real estate opportunities we offer. Compared to the yield from the Hong Kong residential and the current market prices, Canada is far more cost competitive.”
On the Horizon
According to Chan, the US Fed will raise interest rates slowly and that will impact the investment opportunities and consequently patterns everywhere. Gold will remain stable and will be a safe bet against political uncertainty.
The mad rush for crypto currencies will come to nothing as long as governments don’t legalise it and that they are hardly likely to do, Chan feels. “I don’t see Bitcoin replacing the USD or RMB. Do you?” he asks.
“Govt is authorized by law to print money. You can’t hedge your bets on a currency that has no legal standing and merely because there is limited supply.”
“This is speculation. Investment is about introspection – when you see clearly what your purpose of investment is. Is it to get a steady flow of modest passive income or to risk your money on a speeding runaway train to nowhere.
Investment is also about involvement where you understand and appreciate your commitment, instead of putting your hard earned dollars on a balloon rising by hot air. Investment is about intuition born from experience and knowledge, not from hope and luck. Be wise and stay safe. View investment as a part of life and not life as a part of investment. Stay vigilant and invest wisely,” Chan concludes.
For additional information, please visit www.nobleapex.com
參透投資的藝術 | 御峰集團
「你的投資目標是甚麼? 是想令自己更有錢? 怎樣才算更有錢?」他以頗具風格的方式問。
中國企業已經佔股票市場超過 70%，所以你可以說，未來一片「紅」。市場監管方面，證監會已準備好更多的市場改革，譬如說提供措施適應如 Fintech 等市場改變。證監會亦嘗試收緊創業板上市企業的監管。這些都是監管者與市場參與者的互動。」
Hong Kong’s Business Leaders share market and interest intelligence in the pages of HKMVC 2018